- Birth Date: 03/14/1942
- Place of Birth: Washington, DC
- State of Residence: Arizona
- Years of Service: 7
- Branch of Military: Army
- Rank: Captain
- Wars Involved In: Vietnam
I knew from an early age that I would join the military & serve my country. I vividly remember as a very young boy marching endlessly around my home with a fake wooden rifle in a sailor suit that I wore almost every day. I was fortunate to attend Valley Forge Military Academy for 3 years. I was a lonely plebe for my 1st year, marching & saluting everywhere I went, daily inspections, parades, etc but the responsibilities &leadership skills I developed as a teenager would end up serving me extremely well throughout my entire life. I went on to Penn State University & on graduation day I was commissioned a RA 2nd LT. in the US Army. I then went to Ft Knox for Officer Tank School and then to Ft. Benning for Airborne school. On my 3rd jump, which was a full equipment & weapons jump, I exited the plane & immediately knew my chute had malfunctioned & only partially opened because I was heading to the ground faster than anyone else… Fortunately, I didn’t break anything but just got bounced around on the ground like a basketball. After jump school my orders arrived & I was elated to find out I was going to the 3/24thArmored Battalion in Munich, Germany.
I was 21 years old, single & going to Munich. How lucky can you get? What a great experience. Our unit worked hard, trained hard & I thoroughly enjoyed all that Germany offered. How many 21 year olds get to stand inside the gun turret of a 50 ton tank & roar down the Autobahn? My next assignment was Fonutainblue, France, a suburb of Paris. Again, how lucky can a young guy be? After 3 years in Europe I returned to the states for a year of schooling at the Officers Advanced Course in Georgia. At that time the war in Vietnam was really heating up & I could not wait to get my orders.
I arrived in Vietnam in 1968, shortly after the massive Tet Offensive by the Viet Cong. For my 1st 6 months I was a Company Commander of 160 troops in Pleiku up in the Central Highlands & then on to An Khe for another 6 months. Any time I had any free time I would go over to the Air Force unit & volunteer to go up in a tiny 2 seater prop plane & fly over Viet Cong areas & drop out of the plane thousands of “safe conduct passes” which offered safe passage into the American lines, a cash reward & the ability for the enemy to return to their families. Our little planes would always get shot at because we had loud speakers attached to the outside of the plane &, in Vietnamese, the enemy would be encouraged to give up, ultimately go home & then we would play the sounds of babies crying out for their fathers & women pleading for their sons or husbands to give up & come home. The good news was we never got shot down & after 50 flight hours I was awarded Crew Wings & the coveted Air Medal. I really wanted to stay in Vietnam another year but I returned to the states & was assigned to the Pentagon on General Staff which was a great career opportunity. I fully expected to make the military my career but after 7 years I was offered a career opportunity into to civilian world that was just too good to turn down.
My time in the military was one of the most rewarding, challenging & exciting I could have ever hoped for. I was give opportunities & responsibilities far greater that I would have ever been exposed to as a young adult in the civilian world. I have no regrets…only wonderful & profound memories. The tradition carries on… One of my sons is in the Army & flies the Apache Attack Helicopter. I have a large flag pole outside my house which proudly fly’s the American flag & I salute it each time I leave or enter my home. GOD BLESS AMERICA.
I’m actively involved in several great organizations that support wounded veterans.